Sunday, January 31, 2016

an updated take on granola bars!

i'm just gonna go ahead and call these energy bars, okay?
i haven't bought a granola bar from the grocery store in several years so my boys think these are "granola bars".
and that's okay!
there is nothing (in my opinion) wrong with these little babies.
did you know that an average granola bar can contain as many as 25 ingredients, 12 grams of sugar, and sugar-filled ingredients like a chocolate sheath. they can be almost as bad as eating a real candy bar...a Twix Bar contains around the same amount of calories and sugar as an average granola bar!
and we are still calling these "healthy" and feeding them to our kids?!
no longer!
let your kiddos give these a try and you'll never go back!

Healthy Granola Bars
makes about 3 dozen, small-ish bars (about the same as one of those small Quaker ones)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup no-salt sunflower seeds or pepitas (optional)
1 cup no-salt, mixed nuts (or use all of one kind if you'd like...i've done mixed, all almonds, and all walnuts before)
1 cup dry milk powder
3 eggs
1/2-3/4 cup honey (i don't use it but it does make it sweeter for newbies)
1 cup no-sugar added, dried fruit (optional...i don't do this but again, it adds sweetness for newbies)
1 cup peanut butter (or i use pb2 and mix the equivalent of 1 cup for less fat)
1/2 cup ground flax or i like to use a mix of ground flax and chia seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
dash of vanilla (optional)
handful of chopped dark chocolate
coconut oil for greasing the pan

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Pulse everything together, except the chopped dark chocolate, in a food processor (or in batches if its easier). We like ours very finely chopped but go for big chunks, if you like them that way! Grease a jelly roll pan with the coconut oil and spread the mixture in a thin-ish layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly dry looking on top. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top. Let sit for a few minutes getting melty and then spread quickly over the surface in a very thin layer with a rubber spatula. Let sit until just warm and then cut up into bars. Let cool completely and then package. I usually wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


we've been taking a super slow, relaxing take on our new year. 
as slow as three boys, homeschool, and finishing up a new house goes!

sunrise, frost, and coffee

smoked gouda mac and cheese!

afternoon coffee and a bit of light reading from a friend

getting ready to transplant some mushrooms!

perfect winter lunch: egg, peppered bacon, kale, and caramelized onion strata!

sweet napping boy :)

kohlrabi, rainbow chard, and collards from the garden!

endless collection of little socks...most of them have matches!

white bean, rosemary, and ham stew...and fresh turkey stock!

the three amigos.

doing a bit of farmwork

playing around with my new Christmas toy :)

healthy boys' lunches!

the most awesome art ever.

(but by Jack instead)

we have our days around here...this was a hard one so i let them watch a movie while i got a moment's peace...

off to work!

first official dinner in our new place!

all my boys making me chocolate chip oatmeal pancakes!

pouring the new deck's steps :)

my dad hauling it across the pasture on his tractor to not miss the fun

new, recycled clay driveway!

hello, gorgeous.

fun kiddos' lunches

sweet brothers playing

good haul.

first of the winter greenhouse tomatoes!

and beautiful kolrahbi

he's a great, five year old babysitter

toddler buffet!

poor gabe had a rough day :(

my agenda for that evening...

and hanging a gallery with only a toy hammer!
(somehow mike had hidden the real hammer from me and it was too cold and too late to walk to my dad's shop :))

homemade granola bars...recipe coming soon!

when i pack mv's lunch for cc every week, i have to pack my jack jack a "super special" lunch too :)

i thiiiiiiink we've got enough jerky to last awhile...but this kid can EAT some goose jerky! can abby ;)

my life: mud and rainboots.
and i love it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

pistachio sponge cake with yogurt mousse and orange saffron syrup...and a birthday!

My amazing husband set off today for a few weeks in Argentina to check on the managing of the ranch. While I'm sure he'll have a blast, we are already missing him here at the ole homestead. His 31st birthday is tomorrow so before he left, he was trying to figure out what kind of dessert he wanted for his birthday. We were watching an episode of this season's Top Chef (we are mildly obsessed) and one of the chefs won for her pistachio sponge cake with yogurt mousse and orange saffron syrup. 
Say what?!
But of course, as soon as he heard this ten-word title for this dish, he decided he must have it for his birthday. Top Chef doesn't publish the recipes to their dishes (they sell cook books for that...) so I had to scour the internet to try to find similar recipes that I could mash together and make something that fit that ridiculous title. 
And here we are! I tweaked a pistachio sponge cake recipe, found a lemon yogurt mousse recipe, and made up the orange saffron syrup! 
And you know what? It was pretty darn tasty.
It's a lot of effort (so. many. steps.) but if you are looking for something totally unique to go with your next Moroccan-themed dinner party, this is it! You can do all the steps in advance (in fact, it's encouraged) so just plate and serve!

Pistachio Sponge Cake with Yogurt Mousse and Orange Saffron Syrup
various online sources, inspiration Top Chef
yogurt mousse
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
orange saffron syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
pinch of saffron threads
pistachio sponge cake
6 large eggs, separated
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)
1 1⁄2 cups sugar, divided
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1⁄4 cups flour
1⁄4 cup pistachios, finely chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup pistachios, chopped, for garnish

For the yogurt mousse: Beat the egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk Greek yogurt, orange zest and juice in a separate bowl; fold in the egg whites. Chill 2 hours.


For the orange saffron syrup: Combine all ingredients for the orange saffron syrup and heat over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until simmering. Simmer for 5 minutes; turn off heat and let steep. Store in a small container in the fridge until ready to serve. *if syrup is too thick, microwave for a few seconds to loosen then pour over cake*

For the pistachio sponge cakes: Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar or lemon juice and beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar; continue beating until stiff but not dry. Set aside. Beat yolks about 3 minutes or until very thick and light in color. Add remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until thick. Add orange juice and zest; blend until smooth. Thoroughly combine flour, finely chopped pistachios and salt; gently fold into egg yolk mixture until well-blended. Fold yolk mixture into beaten whites. Pour into small, un-greased ramekins or, if serving a crowd, 2 un-greased, 8" cake pans; cut through batter with spatula to remove air bubbles. Bake at 325*F, 25 to 35 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
Immediately invert pans on wire racks; cool completely. To remove cakes, loosen around edges of pans with knife. Pour orange saffron syrup over cakes; allow to sit until syrup is absorbed. Or you can pour a bit of the top of the cake right before serving and allow to dribble down the sides. Top with yogurt mousse, garnish tops of cakes with chopped pistachios, and enjoy!


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